More than 50 high-ranking Saudi-backed militant commanders loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi have reportedly been killed while fighting Yemeni army troops and their allies over the control of the country’s strategic oil-producing province of Ma’rib.
Yemen's al-Khabar al-Yemeni news website, citing informed sources who preferred not to be named, reported that Ma'rib province has witnessed intense clashes between Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees on one side and Saudi-backed militants on the other over the past few weeks.
The report added that the Yemeni forces and their allies are slowly but steadily making progress, due to the geographical features of the region and heavy deployment of troops and military equipment by the Saudi-led coalition.
The sources highlighted that Ma’rib, al-Thaqba and al-Aswadah districts are now the scenes of pro-Hadi commanders getting killed one after another, and now fear and anxiety have increased among Saudi mercenaries as the Yemeni armed forces have launched fierce battles against them.
Al-Khabar al-Yemeni went on to say that intelligence forces of the Sana’a government have managed to infiltrate into the military and security circles of Saudi-backed Hadi loyalists, monitor all movements of commanders and obtain sensitive information out of their meetings.
According to sources affiliated with the Saudi-led coalition, at least 53 pro-Hadi commanders have been killed in Ma'rib province in recent months.
On December 13, Major General Nasser al-Zubiani, who headed military operations for pro-Hadi forces, died while leading battles against Yemeni soldiers and fighters from the Popular Committees in the Balaq mountain range, south of Ma’rib city.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States and regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.
The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.
Despite heavily-armed Saudi Arabia’s incessant bombardment of the impoverished country, the Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.